Ladysmith Black Mambazo has resumed its global touring and will take the stage at The Dakota March 15th.
Speaking to me by phone from Hampton Inn in Philadelphia, Albert Mazibuko, 52 years performing with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, retains his generous and buoyant attitude. As hard as this pandemic has impacted each of us, Mazibuko along with his singing group has refused to let circumstances define them.
Instead, he says, “let’s learn a new way of doing things, [life is] not going to be the same. But we can adapt and live with the changes.”
Adaptation has been integral to the musical group. Their inception began during the time of apartheid in South Africa in the 1960s. In 1986, they rose to the global stage when they collaborated with Paul Simon and saw the dismantling of apartheid in the early 1990s.
Mazibuko compared the band’s early years—when much of Africa was emancipating from European colonialism—with the current circumstance of living with a pandemic. “Back then, because of the situation, there was a time when there was so much violence in neighboring countries, we were unable to to work anyway. [during the pandemic] I think we experienced something we’ve experienced before, but we encouraged ourselves. We realized it doesn’t matter, it’s going to pass.”
When global travel was severely curtailed, Ladysmith Black Mambazo did not bemoan their limited prospects. Rather, says Mazibuko, “we wrote some new songs and recorded them. We said to ourselves, ‘okay, we have time, let’s try to make more music.’”
This resulted in two full albums filled with songs of hope and encouragement, urging people to stay positive.
The band also sought to help other South African artists. Through fundraising, they tried to help fellow musicians, especially new artists, who had little monetary reserves upon which to draw.
A current project that they’ll resume after this tour will be working with indigenous artists. “When we return to South Africa, we will work on mixing and mastering songs already recorded,” said Mazibuko.
They also reached out to the general public. “We [went] around encouraging people to vaccinate. We believe in vaccinations,” insisted Mazibuko.
The Dakota’s covid-policy can be found at this link.
There will be two shows on March 15th, at 7 pm and 9 pm. Purchase tickets at this link.